National Religious Campaign Against Torture Urges President Bush to Sign the Anti-Torture Bill

Dear Friends:

We have good news. Earlier this week, on a 51-46 vote, the Senate passed important anti-torture legislation that would prohibit all U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, from engaging in torture or other so-called “harsh” interrogation techniques. This bill has already passed the House of Representatives and now it only needs the President’s signature to become law.

This is an enormous victory, and it is in part due to your efforts and the efforts of NRCAT. By emailing and calling your Senators, you made it clear to them that the American people expect Congress to take a clear stand against torture.

Unfortunately, however, the President has already said that he plans to veto the bill rather than sign it into law. If he does so, he will repudiate the will of both houses of Congress and of the American people. Worse, he will keep us an immoral and destructive path.

We ask you to call the White House at 202-456-1111, or to email the President at comments@whitehouse.gov to express your support for H.R. 2082 (the Intelligence Authorization bill). Tell the President that we cannot win the war on terror by abandoning the values that made us great, and that he can help return us to those values by signing H.R. 2082.

Sincerely,

Linda Gustitus, President, NRCAT
Richard Killmer, Executive Director, NRCAT

Likewise, Fidelis urges Bush to do the right thing:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 15, 2008
CONTACT: Joshua Mercer
231-330-5674
jmercer@fidelis.org

Bush Urged to Sign Ban on Waterboarding
Practice Morally Wrong, Bad Policy

CHICAGO – The national Catholic based advocacy group Fidelis urged President Bush to re-consider his plan to veto a ban on waterboarding that passed both the Senate and the House this week.

The amendment to the approved intelligence bill requires the CIA to adopt the US Army Field Manual restrictions on interrogation techniques, which forbids waterboarding and other types inhumane practices to gather information.

Brian Burch, President of Fidelis, issued the following statement:

“Waterboarding is a form of torture because it consists of immobilizing a person on his back, with his head is inclined downward and pouring water over the face and into the breathing passages. Forced suffocation and inhalation of water is a form of torture and the United States must reject its use. We strongly encourage President Bush to sign this legislation banning the inhumane practice.

“We are sympathetic to difficult choice facing the President given his duty to protect the citizens of the United States. However, the United States must never abandon its commitment to upholding the dignity of the human person, even when such choices are made more difficult by the circumstances of a war.

“The President as Commander in Chief deserves credit for attempting to protect innocent civilians in the war in Iraq. This acknowledgment of the moral responsibilities of a nation during conflict must carry over to our interrogation of prisoners, including terrorists, even if that decision makes the prosecution of the war more difficult.

“Some have argued that the practice of waterboarding is effective and therefore necessary. We respond by pointing to the words of the late Pope John Paul the Great who described torture as an ‘intrinsically evil’ act. In such acts he explained ‘a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain ‘irremediably evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person.’”


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